Israeli Legislature Considering Ban on Free-Distribution Newspapers

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By: E&P Staff

A key legislative committee in the Israeli Knesset will consider a bill next week that would prohibit the free distribution of newspapers as a business model — a proposal that seems squarely aimed at Israel Today, a 300,000-copy freesheet owned by a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Under the proposed “Prohibition on Distributing Newspapers Free,” introduced by a Kadima party Knesset member, newspapers would be allowed to be free-distribution for no longer than one year.

“The objective is to block the distribution of the freesheet Israel Today, which is considered supportive of Netanyahu,” the online Israeli business news organization Globes reported. Israel Today is owned by Sheldon Adelson.

“Netanyahu’s aides have recently been lobbying ministers and MKs ahead of next week’s vote by the ministerial legislative committee,” Globes reported. “The aides argue that the bill is illegal, scandalous, and contravenes several basic and other laws. Off the record, Netanyahu aides admit that the campaign against the bill is also against ‘Yediot Ahronot’ and ‘Ma’ariv’, which have not spared embarrassing reports about Netanyahu during his second term.”

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